NELIA HARPER IS A LOCAL ARTIST with some considerable talent. We’ve known each other for several years, so I was interested to explore what’s happening in her journey of discovery and building her new business.
It’s common to think that artists are inherently flaky or ungrounded. But I find this not to be true.
For myself, I think that artistry is just another aspect of a wonderful life. For me, it’s music.
Nelia’s talent is with painting.
Being smart and experienced, she recognizes that she’s at the beginning of the journey of her craft. So she’s delving deeply into learning new skills, developing her technique, and getting practice.
That means a lot of painting, most of which the world will never see. But it’s necessary for her progress. And a joyful path of learning.
But we all know that the “starving artist” is a well-worn cliché. Nelia knows that her work can only be continued when she makes it into a sustainable business as well.
Fortunately, she has a plan.
I found out that she’s involved in several artist communities in the area. Not only for moral support and technique development, but to pull together marketing that builds everyone’s success by growing the market for art works.
Because it’s much harder to be successful as a lone artist, no matter how good you are.
She’s developed relationships with a couple of local galleries, and is helping them to develop strategies likely to build a thriving community for artists long term.
I was also amazed to hear about the range of business skills needed to succeed: photographing for marketing and reproduction, social media, suppliers, printers, packaging … even such mundane things as properly paying sales tax.
But paying attention to those details is just as important as the details in her painting. It’s critical to be able to sustain her passion as a thriving business.
Nelia is pushing her talents both as an artist and business owner. She’s working on how to make a strong and loving connection between her passion and customers’ hearts.
At the end of the day, it’s about conveying love through her works.